Sunday, July 22, 2018

Another Day, Another DOE Fail

This one, oddly, had a pretty short shelf life in NYC. Evidently, if the DOE has not invested enough time to give a principal tenure, they will actually let one go simply because he presided over two stabbings and a murder, likely as not caused by one of his policies. Oh, and there was that grade-fixing scandal in which a kid handed in a stick figure rather than actual work.

This guy, in fact, was not set to simply be a principal. He was going to supervise or assess other principals. Did they meet the standard? Did they preside over more than one murder? Less than two stabbings? Did they demand two or more stick figures for makeup coursework? Or is stuff like that relevant enough to make the checklist? Or is there a DOE checklist already that may or may not contain that stuff?

Sometimes when I write about stories like these, I have to stress things that reporters wouldn't, to point out the ridiculousness, or elaborate on things that the story only implies. Not this time, though:

Despite the fact that a simple online search yields a number of stories about his past controversies, Richardson told The Post that a team of DOE interviewers never asked him about them.
“Those specifics did not come up,” Richardson said.
Apparently, the DOE decided to run its own Google search after The Post asked about his hiring.

That sounds like sarcasm, doesn't it? I mean, if you were hiring someone for a position that entailed supervising principals, wouldn't you do a cursory check? Wouldn't you be curious as to why someone would leave the DOE for a higher-paying position, then come back five years later seeking a lower-paying one?

Of course you would. But the New York City Department of Education, the one that makes decisions that affect your workplace each and every day, doesn't find that a productive use of its time. What on earth do they discuss at interviews? Do they talk about how many ineffective ratings they're willing to give? Do they ask whether they're willing to violate the UFT Contract with impunity? Do they ask them whether or not they're willing to listen to "legal" rather than read basic English?

Here's what I know to be true--the DOE is a morass of ineptitude. They hire lawyers who can't or don't read the UFT Contract, and they back them up with hearing officers for whom logic is a second language. I don't deal much with Tweed but it's hard for me to imagine that Bloomberg didn't stack it up with equally inept and incurious martinets who aren't worth half their bloated salaries. This recent bout of incompetence ought to get tongues wagging, but it won't.

Despite the fact that there are stories enough for Sue Edelman to humiliate Mayor Bill de Blasio on an almost weekly basis, and despite the fact that each one represents a dozen we've yet to hear, the mayor does absolutely nothing to clean up the mess left him by Michael Bloomberg. I hope the new chancellor reads these stories and does something about them, but his top-level shakeup does not indicate to me a readiness to clean house.

Of course, I can always be wrong, and this time I certainly hope I am.
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